Our team

A COLLECTION OF EXPERIENCE, EDUCATION, AND TALENT & SKILL
Photo on 8-30-22 at 3.46 PM 3.jpg

BRIANNE TEEVAN-BONGIOVANNI, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

Founder & Head of School

brianne@bambinicreativi.com

Ciao Amici and Families!  My name is Brianne Teevan-Bongiovanni- I am the Head of School and Founder of Bambini Creativi.  I have had an interesting journey prior to conceptualizing, designing, owning and operating an independent private preschool and elementary! From a young age I sought out opportunities in entrepreneurial endeavors and artistic expression, and always had a willingness to take on any of life’s challenges. My educational experience includes studying Fine Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, and Early Childhood education at the Francis Institute and the University of Kansas. Let's just say I crafted the educational experience that I had wished for. I also auditioned and made it into Chicago’s famous Second City Conservatory where I graduated and studied acting and the art of improvisation. While living in Chicago, I was able to unify all of my talents to work my way up at Chicago Children’s Museum, where I eventually became the museum’s Early Learning Lead Educator and Exhibit/Program Designer. It was there where I first discovered the magnificent teaching/ learning paradigm of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. I implemented many aspects of the philosophy in my work at the museum and was fiercely intrigued to study and learn the philosophy first hand. My commitment and relentless spirit eventually moved me to Reggio Emilia where I landed the very rare opportunity to become an informal intern at Raggio di Luce (Ray of Light) atelier at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia, Italy. My time there was too great to not share with the people and community I love in my hometown of Kansas City. I decided to move back to Kansas City to build the school of my dreams, Bambini Creativi. After just 5 years of operation, Bambini Creativi has been the most viewed Reggio Inspired school on Youtube by 165 countries in the world. I currently serve as a Reggio consultant and speaker in Kansas City, the US,  and abroad. I have had magnificent opportunities transforming learning environments and educational projects, raising funds to help create beautiful and intrinsically motivating classrooms for our under-served youth in our local and regional communities, and have had the pleasure of working with schools beyond our borders.

I consider myself principled, compassionate, and full of faith! It is hard not to be when you are fulfilling your vision and dream, and more importantly, when you have an incredible family and community who have shown their support to you every step of the way. Many people ask me how I keep going, and the answer to that is simple, it is my husband and love- Enrico Bongiovanni.  I often joke and say Enrico was a souvenir I picked up when studying in Italy, or that I specialize in Italian imports! The truth is more like, he is a gift in my life that I thank God for, a best friend, and a soulmate that exceeds time and place!

unnamed-1 2.jpg

ALESSA ARENAS, GUADALAJARA, MEXICO

Administrative Assistant & Visual Arts Specialist 

alessa.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Dear Amici! My name is Alessa Arenas and this will be my fourth year working  Bambini Creativi. I am originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, where all our family is currently living.

After high school, I spent a year in London living with an Italian family, and that’s when I started loving all things about Italy. I looked after their kids, traveled, went to school, and got my English certificates from Cambridge University.

Then I moved back home and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Design. I also studied Italian, and my idea was to finish at University and start a Masters in Italy or Spain. Instead, I fell in love, got married, and moved to Kansas.

We spent three wonderful years in Kansas! My first son, Santiago, was born here, but we decided to return to Mexico, where my second child, Nicolas, was born. We enjoyed being close to our family and friends, but life was too hectic and the quality of time for our kids was not the ideal. My husband got a new job offer from the same company, and we decided to move back to Kansas for good.

It took us four years to get our green cards, a lot of stories, adventures, learning, and patience included. My visa did not allow me to work, so I spent most of my time assisting teachers in my kid's school in the Shawnee Mission School District.

One of the teachers was the one who sent me to Bambini Creativi! I am thankful to be part of such a special place where anything can happen and where I have found my own family and community. 

 

I started teaching Spanish but I have been helping and subbing all around the School, from running the kitchen to being the Piccolo lead teacher for a couple of months. This year I will be helping Ms. B in the office, I honestly have no idea how she did it all by herself last year! There is so much to do but she was always there for the amici and for us as teachers! I am excited to help in this area so she can focus on other important things because I am sure this will be an incredible year at Bambini! 
 

 

Ms. Alessa

Screen Shot 2021-08-17 at 11.21.52 AM.png

TAYLOR ROBERTSON, OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS

Early Years, Lead Teacher (Piccolo & Medio), Early Years Team Leader

taylor.bambinicreativi@gmail.com

Ciao Bambini Families and Amici! I am beyond excited to start my fourth official year teaching at Bambini! It all started with a conversation with one of our fellow teachers about Bambini and what an amazing place this was. Leaving me extremely curious, I had to experience this for myself. Once walking in the front door, I decided that this was something special and I wanted to do whatever was needed to be a part of it! I shadowed, volunteered, and was more than eager to learn the ways of the Reggio philosophy. This led me to participate in Bambini's internship through the University of Kansas. From co-leading summer camp and opportunities as a substitute teacher, having a teaching position for my third year is a dream come true and I can't wait to learn, grow, and explore with the Medio class!

 

I was raised in Leawood, Kansas, with a second home in Keystone, Colorado. I was very blessed that my family enjoyed traveling and exploring. From our famous family road trips to our around the world adventures, we were introduced to many different cultures. While attending the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!), I studied Applied Behavioral Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Autism Intervention.  I have had experience working with children for over 15 years and cherished my time volunteering to work with kids with special rights (needs). Bringing the IB program to Bambini is such a gift, and I feel honored to be a part of it. Extremely excited to practice to "think globally, act locally" with our students. Working hard towards our certification as an International Baccalaureate school this year will be such a rewarding gift to see it all come together! 

 

Homelife consists of my husband, Nick and I enjoying the journey of parenthood with our son, Oren (3 1/2) and our daughter, Nora (2 1/2). Our house remains busy with four dogs running around, but family time remains precious to us. As a parent, I view my childhood experience with such a different lens. It will be a beautiful time when my kiddos are old enough to join me at Bambini. This place is one to share...it provides an environment and atmosphere for all of us to grow not only personally, but as educators, parents, and a community. However, most importantly, Bambini provides and allows these young minds the freedom to develop creatively and naturally. I am ecstatic to get into the Piccolo classroom and begin our unique journey together! 

Hello everyone, my name is Maria Navas, Psychologist and Master in Education, I am very excited to be part of Bambini Creativi.

I am from Ecuador, from the city of Ambato, where I grew up and studied.
For several years I worked in the Ministry of Education of my country, with boys and girls orienting and guiding each one in their learning process, allowing them to learn through observation and experimentation, thus enhancing their own creativity. Creating spaces for Emotional Self-Awareness to strengthen their evolutionary development.

Three years ago my family decided to move to the US, specifically here to Kansas City, I am convinced that it was the best decision, this country received us with love, I have met wonderful people, the variety of cultures is beautiful, we all learn from each other and that allows us to continue growing as people.


I have been  happily married for 14 years, I have two wonderful children, Agustin, 10 years old, and José, 7 years old. My family is my inspiration to get ahead.

To be part of Bambini Creativi is a dream, I love being a teacher, I love children, I really enjoy being able to share my knowledge and culture as the Foreign Language Specialist.


Bambini Creativi's program is great, I am fascinated and grateful to be part of this community, I look forward to work with the amici, the rest of the teachers and the parents.
 

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your children's education.
 

Con cariño.

 

Maria Navas

unnamed 2.jpg

MARIA NAVAS, ECUADOR

Foreign Language Specialist

Spending the start of my life in Portland, Oregon I have grown so passionate about community, relationships and the value in diverse people, cultures and interactions. I was born and raised on the West Coast, imagining myself venturing out into the city to become a musician or a nurse - completely unaware that what I thought would be a job to pass my time would change my entire career path. Starting my work at a lab center partnered with Portland State University and Inventing Remida Portland, I was immersed into the Reggio Emilia experience head first, astounded by its impacts, blessings and ability to influence people both as individuals and as a community to respect, support and grow on levels I could have never imagined. This opportunity not only provided professional growth, but a personal development that aided me in finding my identity as a person in the larger community, helped me to find an inner peace and a creative, open mindset that has strengthened my life in countless ways. I journeyed to Kansas in 2017, where I have held several positions both inside and outside of the classroom - including administration and as a specialist in Early Childhood Professional Development - finally leading me to realize once again that the classroom is my home. Learning has been such a motivator of mine over the years and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity not only to learn with children, but also to learn with my colleagues and develop opportunities for us to work in partnership, share ideas and continue to strengthen our pedagogies to the benefit of our community. 

 

My initial interaction with Bambini could be seen from the outside as by chance, but I saw this with great meaning. My evident connection with the environment and the community in this space fell into place within moments of walking through the ingresso, as if a sign that a partnership with this strong and driven community was not just an option, but a path that was intended to be followed. As I devote more hours and days into developing my roots with Bambini I see a wealth of gratitude for the experience of peers, a drive for equity - for holistic respect and love for oneself as well as others and a determination to make a statement of the capabilities that the child has to offer as a competent and active member of society. Dedicating my time to this space, these people and the values of Bambini Creativi is a way to live my life to its highest potential, and I look forward to my second year of creating magic for the young people that I serve with my whole heart and mind!

 

Thank you so much for all that you do!

Ms. Ashley

unnamed-2 2.jpg

ASHLEY TAFOYA-CANDIFF, PORTLAND, OREGON

Elementary, Lead Educator (Cercatori & Creativi)

Ciao Amici! I am incredibly honored and grateful to be a part of our Bambini Creativi community for my fifth year! I cannot wait to see you all and start this year’s learning adventure! I know once again, in these times, we will work together to keep everyone safe and healthy and more importantly to preserve each amici’s amazing childhood. Your child and I will get to learn and develop while discovering, wondering, and unlocking all the curiosities that our world holds. I am excited to begin this unique journey together!

 

I was born and raised in Nebraska and grew up on Husker football! I return back to Lincoln for most of the home games in the fall. Being one of eight kids, there was never a dull moment at my house. My family has been a huge inspiration and they have helped cultivate my desire to teach young children. I decided to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and I received my degree in Early Childhood Education. During my time in college, I learned and fell in love with the Reggio Emilia Approach, because of its emphasis on the child and how each individual child is valued as a competent and capable human being! After this experience, I could never go back to the traditional way of teaching. Before Bambini, I was an educator in many diverse settings, such as daycares, church nurseries, early education centers, laboratory schools, and nature preschools with children of all ages. At Bambini, I have now taught Medio, Grande, and this will be my third year in Curiosi. 

 

I moved to Kansas City after hearing about Bambini, seeing the incredible learning environment, and coming to observe the high-quality educational experience given to children each and every day. It has been a phenomenal experience for me getting to walk alongside our amici and families to raise our children up as loving and caring human beings, and citizens of our world. 

 

In the Spring of 2021, our classroom and school community gained a special member. The kindergarten and first grade amici had a very powerful and engaging project in which they were learning about economic activity and the buying and selling of goods and services. The students wanted to create a town within our classroom, but not just any town! Their interest was in animals and specifically dogs. So they named it ‘DogTown’. Well, towards the end of the project the amici begged me for a classroom pet and they even organized a fundraiser for it. The amici wished and hoped for a… dog! The stars aligned and on the very last week of school they were surprised with their very own classroom puppy, a miniature schnauzer named Lincoln! Lincoln has been such a gift to so many amici at our school! The students smile as he greets them in the morning. The Curiosi Amici love to curl up and read him a book, or play games with him out on the play yard. He visits other classrooms for a quick pet and to check that everyone is okay in the school! Make sure you say hi to Lincoln when you see him around the school!

unnamed-3.jpg

ANISSA MILBURN, LINCOLN, NEBRASKA

Elementary Lead Teacher, Curiosi (T-K-1st Grade), Pedagogical Leadership, Lead Mentor Teacher 

tabatha_willard 2.jpg

TABATHA WILLARD, LOS ANGELES, CA

Music & Movement Specialist

Ciao Amici and Bambini family! My name is Tabatha and I am so excited to be returning as the movement specialist this year. My son and I joined the Bambini family in 2018. I have so much gratitude for Bambini and the teachers and community. They welcomed us with open arms and open hearts. I knew this place was a yes for my son and me! It was here that we put our first roots down in a new city and I felt grounded and so supported. Fast forward four years, growing and continuing our learning and life experiences thru a pandemic, my heart has led us back to this special place! 

 

Here is a little about me and my experience in teaching and caring for children. Mama is my favorite and most important job! I have a seven-year-old son, Cove. He will be joining the Cercativi class this year as a second grader.  I am so grateful for Cove's first 2 years of preschool and that I taught movement at Bambini. I learned how to communicate with positive intent and conscious discipline. These tools were my saving grace while attempting to homeschool the last couple of years. My second love is yoga! I am a certified yoga teacher and have studied mindfulness and meditation in places all over the world. Movement and music are my passion! I love creating classes and experiences for people to heal and feel. To move, breathe and connect mind and body is one of the best ways that I have found to maintain a sense of peace and overall well-being. I will say, that the most important thing I have learned so far, is that I must fill up my cup first! So, if you needed to hear this parents, know that I am here to support you in that as well. I realize I can only give to others, what I have given to and accepted in myself! Movement has been a tool to deeper understand and empower myself and others. From facing fears, taking risks, having the courage to be seen and heard, leaning into grace when we fall or fail, and embracing challenges, we are given an opportunity to grow not just physically but mentally as well! I look forward to supporting students in these ways and having a lot of fun while building connections!

 

It is my absolute pleasure to witness the spirit and open-mindedness of children. While I feel it is an honor to call myself a teacher, I truly believe I am also a forever student. So, here's to a year of learning and growing and moving together one breath, one step, and one day at a time. 

NAMASTE!

0 2.jpeg

LESLIE MENENDEZ, GUATEMALA

Healthy Living Specialist

Hola amigos! My name is Leslie Menendez and I will be the Healthy Living Specialist at Bambini Creativi this year!

Just a little about me...I was born in Guatemala but moved to the US 26 years ago. I first lived in California and then we moved to Kansas. I have two sons Chris, who is 19 years old, and Tony, who is 17 years old. They keep me busy! We try to spend as much time together as possible because family is something we value. I also enjoy spending a lot of time with my nieces and nephews. Family is so important to me!

My past work included working in Early Years Educational Centers for more than 5 years. In my work, I hav been able to share my passion for cooking! I also dream of having my own food truck with my family one day! I really enjoy cooking together with my family and my favorite thing to make is enchiladas, taquitos dorados, arroz, and mainly Mexican food. Yes, I am Guatemalan and love cooking Mexican food! 

In my quest to return to the work I love, cooking, and with Bambini Creativi seeking a new Healthy Living Specialist, I was excited to learn about the opportunity to share my gifts and passion with their student community. Ms. Alessa was the one to introduce me to Ms. B! When I interviewed at the school and went there for the first time, I knew it was a special place for me to be and work.

I am excited and looking forward to work at Bambini Creativi as the Healthy Living Specialist. I am thrilled to share with the amici my love for food! As a Latina, I have learned to express through foods, and cooking and preparing meals for other's is a special gift I hope to share! I am excited to start this new journey, and I look forward to meeting all of you!

0 2.jpeg

MONIQUE MOMBO, LIBERIA- AFRICA

Early Years, Lead Teacher (Medio) & Elementary Assistant

Welcome, My Amici!

 

I send you all a warm hug and invitation to the Medio Classroom this year! 

 

My name is Ms. Monique Mombo, and I am the Lead Medio teacher this school year. I have served children for many years and even acquired my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education where I spent 4 years in the classroom. I am the proud mother of two elementary-aged boys, Severin and Stephan. They keep me busy and always seem to amaze me! I am also excited to share that I am originally from Liberia, Africa. I spent most of my childhood years in Liberia and moved to Virginia when I was nine. Most of my family is still in Liberia and I was raised to understand much about my roots and culture, but I hope to continue to learn more about my African heritage. I am thankful to be in an educational community that values and honors the culture, diversity, and all of the characteristics that make us all unique! I look forward to sharing my learning journey alongside my amici as they discover all the wonders of the world around them!

 

This is the year of our curious learners to shine brightly in our classroom! It will be an exciting year of magical wonder and amazing growth for our amici! Our Units of Inquiry in the Medio Classroom will cover topics, like- The Curiosity Project (Science), My Relationships (Social-Emotional), Inside of Stories and Books(Literacy), and Animal Homes (Ecology) over the span of 8-10 weeks per Unit. These Units of Inquiry are a shared experience of what I know they need to know as their teacher, and what they are interested to know within the topic. So, our journey of learning together should always be an exciting adventure!

 

I believe that communication is the key to your child’s success and a great parent/teacher partnership. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions or ideas to assist with our units and your amici as you know them best. I will also do my part by sending weekly and monthly communications. I am available via email during school hours as well as via phone at the Bambini main phone number.

 

I am really looking forward to working with you and your amici as we teach them to reach for the stars!

 

Warm regards, 

Ms. Monique Mombo